W Series Hungary: Chadwick dominates to retake title lead

Jamie Chadwick took her second win of the W Series season, beating title rival Alice Powell by some margin to reclaim the lead of the championship standings.

Chadwick lost the title lead to Powell following the latter’s victory at Silverstone two weeks ago, but Chadwick struck back this weekend with pole position. She then got a much better launch off the line than Powell on race day to hold the lead into Turn 1.

Powell briefly had to go on the defensive to stay in second ahead of Nerea Marti, who got away quickly from third. Meanwhile, Marti’s Academy teammate Ira Sidorkova jumped forward from fifth position to challenge Beitske Visser, and claim fourth place at Turn 4 on the opening lap.

Further back in the pack, Chadwick’s Veloce teammate Bruna Tomaselli dropped back from sixth on the grid to ninth behind Marta Garcia, Emma Kimilainen and Belen Garcia. At Turn 1, Fabienne Wohlwend got caught up in the jostling for position and lost her front wing, forcing her into a pit stop at the end of lap 1, and retirement shortly after.

 

Over the opening few tours, Chadwick set a series of fastest laps in clean air to stretch clear of Powell. The gap was already over a second by the end of lap 2, and that continued to grow with each following lap. As Chadwick drove away, Powell and Marti also began opening up a gap on the rest of the field.

Chadwick continued to lead for the remainder of the race, and opened a gap of over seven seconds after consistently setting fastest lap times and lapping within a second of her pole time from Friday. She crossed the line to take the win at the end of lap 19 with Powell a distant second, and Marti further back in third and taking her first podium in the series.

Behind the top three, Sidorkova and Visser remained locked in a tight battle over fourth place. Sidorkova made an error at Turn 11 on lap 3 which allowed Visser to close to within half a second, although Sidorkova responded well in the following laps to keep ahead of the Forbes car.

 

Visser continued to put the pressure on the 18-year-old ahead and was consistently a tenth quicker per lap. But with the Hungaroring being such a difficult circuit to overtake on, Visser had to follow Sidorkova home over the line in fifth place.

Kimilainen took sixth place, having pounced on a late wide moment by Marta Garcia through Turn 11 to take the position on lap 16. Marta Garcia was seventh ahead of Belen Garcia, Tomaselli and Jess Hawkins.

Chadwick’s win puts her back at the top of the championship standings with 73 points, although Powell is just one point behind in second place. Marti’s podium moves her up into third in the standings on 37 points, with former third-place driver Sarah Moore one point behind her after finishing the Hungary race in 15th.

W Series returns after the summer break on 28th August at Spa-Francorchamps, in support of the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.

W Series Hungary Preview: Powell in the lead in tight battle at the top

Round 4 at Budapest signifying we are nearly halfway through this exciting season. In an 8 race season every race counts, so it’s important to optimise the more tighter style at the Hungaroring compared to the fast track of Silverstone.

The Hungaroring is a 4.38km circuit which held its first Formula 1 race in 1986, with this year’s race being its 36th event. The first females to race at the track were Annette Meuvissen and Mercedes Stermitz in 1988 during a one-off DTM race. Since then, there have been relatively few females’ appearances. However, on the 2021 W Series grid 3 drivers have had experience here.

Beitske Visser has the most experience at the Hungaroring, competing in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Renault 3.5 World Series and in the GT4 Euro South competition. When GP3 supported F1 in 2012 both Alice Powell and Vicky Piria competed around the track, however neither made the points.

Can Alice Powell hold on to the lead?

During a dramatic Silverstone race where, after qualifying on pole with a stunning lap, Alice Powell lost first position in the first few corners, then had a race-long battle with Fabienne Wohlwend to eventually come out on top. This adds to her win in round 1, and with Jamie Chadwick finishing in 3rd at Silverstone this means Powell is currently on top of the standings, 6 points ahead of Chadwick.

Alice Powell is having a good season so far, getting her first pole position in the series and beating her number of wins from the whole of the 2019 season. Widely considered a very strong contender for the championship, Powell is taking advantage of her run of form.

Jamie Chadwick, however, is looking to fight back. After a 3rd place finish at Silverstone where she was on her own all race, she is hoping for a strong race weekend in Hungary to take back the lead of the championship and add to her win from round 2 at the Red Bull Ring.

Sarah Moore and Wohlwend are not far behind Chadwick in the standings, and a strong race for both means they come into this weekend with confidence. Wohlwend in particular had an impressive performance in her fight with Powell, which she will be hoping to repeat in Budapest.

Caitlin Wood’s comeback

Caitlin Wood (Drew Gibson / W Series)

The 24-year-old Australian competed in the inaugural 2019 W Series season, but narrowly missed out on automatic qualifying for the next season at the Brands Hatch and was therefore listed as a reserve driver. She finished 13th overall with 11 points scored and a highest finish of 5th.

Caitlin will be racing for PUMA this weekend; she is the first Australian woman to compete successfully in the European scene. She has also taken part in GT4 European Series and Formula Ford along among others.

Many drivers looking to improve their own performances for this weekend and it will be exciting to watch who can tackle this track which is known to test fitness and skill. Qualifying starts at 3:30pm GMT on Friday, lights out at 3:30pm GMT on Saturday.

W Series Silverstone: Powell overcomes Wohlwend challenge for home win

Alice Powell took a home victory and her second win of the year in the W Series Silverstone round after seeing off the challenge from Fabienne Wohlwend in a race-long dogfight.

Powell started the race from pole but Wohlwend got the better start to pull alongside her. After running side by side through Abbey and Farm, Wohlwend managed to get the move complete through Village.

Wohlwend and Powell then spent the opening laps pulling away from third-placed Jamie Chadwick and the rest of the field. As they traded fastest laps, the gap between them stayed around half a second, while Chadwick fell several seconds behind the two leaders.

Wohlwend seemed to have enough to cover off Powell each time she drew closer. But on lap 10 their battle was halted when Miki Koyama broke down at Village and brought out the safety car.

At the restart, Wohlwend then struggled to get her tyres back up to temperature. She went wide through Club on the run to the start line which allowed Powell to draw up, then locked up at Vale at the end of the first green flag lap.

That error was enough for Powell to pull alongside and take the lead down the main straight. Powell then took advantage of Wohlwend’s lack of grip to pull clear by over a second in the final laps.

Powell took the win with Wohlwend in second, and Chadwick made it two British drivers on the Silverstone podium in third. Chadwick ran a fairly quiet race without the pace to keep up with Powell and Wohlwend, but with few challenges from behind either.

Emma Kimilainen came fourth ahead of Nerea Marti. Beitske Visser finished sixth after losing several places at the start from fourth on the grid. Sarah Moore was seventh ahead of W Series debutant Abbi Pulling, and Abbie Eaton and Jess Hawkins rounded out the top ten.

Powell’s victory means she now regains the championship lead from Chadwick by 6 points, while Moore stays in third albeit 18 points adrift of the front.

W Series returns in two weeks’ time at Budapest’s Hungaroring, in support of the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix.

W Series Silverstone preview: Six Brits on the grid for home race

After a great start to the season with the double header at the Red Bull Ring, W Series is back competing alongside Formula 1 at the British Grand Prix weekend at Silverstone – the Home of British motor racing.

The 18 drivers will be racing the full Grand Prix circuit, hoping to one day follow in the footsteps of the Italian driver Lella Lombardi, who was the first female to compete in a Formula 1 World Championship race at Silverstone in 1975. There are 11 different countries represented on the grid, with six British drivers competing at a home race in front of almost sell out crowds.

The current standings after the first two rounds show a very dominant display from the Brits with Jamie Chadwick leading Sarah Moore by three points and Alice Powell in third just one point behind. Abbie Eaton is in 11th, but Jessica Hawkins is looking to score her first points of the season after not having a good start.

Abbi Pulling Debut

Alice Powell and Abbi Eaton (Courtesy of W Series Racing)

The sixth British driver is 18-year-old Abbi Pulling, who will be making her competitive debut in the W Series this weekend. Abbi was listed as a reserve driver after she did the pre-season testing in Anglesey, Wales. She will be racing for PUMA alongside Marta Garcia, and sharing the grid with her career mentor Alice Powell.

Abbi is a currently part of the British Formula 4 championship and is a two-time British Karting champion. Abbi is considered a young rising talent within motorsport, and it will be great to see what she can do in front of her home crowd.

Can Chadwick extend her lead?

Jamie Chadwick will be looking to extend her lead on the series after her dominant performance at the Austrian Grand Prix. With only eight races on the calendar for W Series each race weekend is vital for the championship.

However, she is not the only driver with race experience at Silverstone. Both of Chadwick’s nearest championship rivals have plenty of experience competing at the circuit.

This will be a great challenge for the 2019 champion as this circuit suits the racing style of Moore and Powell better than the Red Bull Ring, so she will need to bring everything in order to stay on top after the weekend is over. Chadwick has shown her ability in the past to perform well under pressure which will be an advantage to her when racing with the largest crowd expected this season.

The W Series race will be Saturday afternoon at 13:25 local time. This is going to be a weekend where all the drivers need to keep a cool head to create some really great racing.

W Series Austria: Chadwick dominates at the Red Bull Ring

Reigning W Series champion Jamie Chadwick kickstarted her title defence with a dominant win from pole position in the second Red Bull Ring round.

Chadwick got a dream start from pole as Beitske Visser stalled off the line from second position. She was then given another advantage as her Veloce teammate Bruna Tomaselli and Academy’s Irina Sidorkova tussled for second, allowing Chadwick to arrive at Turn 1 with a healthy lead already.

Sidorkova came out on top in the battle with Tomaselli and pulled clear of the Brazilian over the opening lap. That left Tomaselli under pressure from Emma Kimilainen, who had jumped up from sixth on the grid to join the podium fight.

 

Kimilainen passed Tomaselli for second on lap 2 and stuck close to the back of Sidorkova. As Chadwick pulled clear of the pair, Kimilainen kept her car consistently within a second of Sidorkova and tried to find a way past the Russian.

But despite the pressure from Kimilainen throughout the race, Sidorkova managed to close off any opportunity and finish second behind Chadwick for her first W Series podium. Kimilainen ran out of laps to make a move happen, but finished half a second behind Sidorkova in third.

As the podium trio bolted down the road, Tomaselli led a tight battle for fourth place. The Veloce driver soon had a train behind her with Sarah Moore, Nerea Marti and Abbie Eaton. Moore in particular had great pace, and had already got herself up to fifth from eighth on the grid.

 

Moore initially got past Tomaselli on lap 7, but was repassed and had to fend off Marti on the following lap. Moore then regrouped in the closing laps to try around the outside of Tomaselli at Turn 3 on lap 18, before finally making a move stick at Turn 4 on lap 22.

Moore and Tomaselli finished fourth and fifth, with Eaton getting ahead of Marti for sixth and her first W Series points. Alice Powell finished a disappointed eighth between Marti and Belen Garcia, after saying on the radio that she had no straight line speed.

Sabré Cook had held the final point in tenth for much of the race after recovering from a spin in qualifying that put her at the back of the grid. But her Bunker Racing teammate Fabienne Wohlwend grabbed the position in the closing laps to round out the top ten.

Chadwick’s win moves her to the top of the standings by three points from Moore, with Round 1 winner Powell another point behind in third. W Series returns in two weeks’ time at Silverstone, in support of the British Grand Prix.

W Series Styria: Powell dominates frantic opening race

Alice Powell took the first victory of the 2021 W Series season in Austria, controlling an otherwise chaotic race from pole position to the chequered flag.

Powell got a quick launch from pole to ensure she held the lead from second-placed Sarah Moore into Turn 1. Meanwhile, series rookie Belen Garcia initially lost third place to Beitske Visser at the start, but got the Dutch driver back later in the opening lap.

Reigning champion Jamie Chadwick had a good first lap as she improved from eighth on the grid to fifth place. But at Turn 1 on the second lap she was rear-ended by Jess Hawkins and spun around, falling to the back of the field.

 

At the front, Powell started to stretch out a one-second lead over Moore, who was coming under steady pressure from Garcia. But after setting an early fastest lap, Garcia then had a few wide moments as she tried to follow in Moore’s dirty air, and started coming under attack herself from Visser.

On lap 10, Garcia then braked too late for Turn 6 and ran through the gravel, dropping her to ninth and promoting Visser up to third. All the while, Powell was continuing to set fastest laps at the front and increase her gap over Moore to the tune of 2.5 seconds.

That gap was eliminated on lap 14 however, when Marta Garcia retired on the side of the track with a mechanical problem and brought out the safety car.

 

At the restart, Powell fended off Moore to maintain the lead, but Visser was spun out of third by Emma Kimilainen. Kimilainen moved up to third herself, but with a broken front wing from the collision she rapidly dropped back in the final few laps.

Fabienne Wohlwend was the first to pass, taking away third by the end of the first green flag lap. On the following lap Kimilainen was passed by B. Garcia, Hawkins and Miki Koyama, then dropped out of the points altogether when her damaged front wing detached on the final lap.

As Powell took the flag to win, Moore finished second for her first W Series podium ahead of Wohlwend in third. B. Garcia recovered from her off to take fourth place from Hawkins and Koyama, and Chadwick took advantage of the hectic final laps to climb back up to seventh. Nerea Marti, Ira Sidorkova and Gosia Rdest rounded out the points.

Round 2 of the 2021 W Series championship takes place on 2–3 July, once again at the Red Bull Ring in support of the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix.

UPDATE: Jess Hawkins was given a drive-through penalty, converted to a 30 second time penalty, after the race for her collision with Jamie Chadwick. The penalty drops Hawkins to 16th in the results, promoting Miki Koyama to fifth and Ayla Agren to tenth inside the points.

W Series: Drivers and Teams

Team Car no. Driver Car no. Driver
Bunker Racing 5 Fabienne Wohlwend 37 Sabre Cook
M. Forbes Motorsport 95 Beitske Visser 17 Ayla Agren
Puma W Series Team 19 Marta Garcia 3 Gosia Rdest
Racing X 27 Alice Powell 21 Jess Hawkins
Sirin Racing 54 Miki Koyama 11 Vicky Piria
Veloce Racing 55 Jamie Chadwick 97 Bruna Tomaselli
Ecurie W 7 Emma Kimilainen 44 Abbie Eaton
Scuderia W 26 Sarah Moore 22 Belen Garcia
W Series Academy 51 Irina Sidorkova 32 Nerea Marti

W Series Styria preview: championship returns for landmark second season

W Series returns this weekend for the first round of its 2021 season, at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in support of the Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix.

More than 680 days have passed since the last W Series race at Brands Hatch in August 2019, after the 2020 season was called off because of the global pandemic. But in 2021, W Series isn’t just picking up where it left off — it’s presenting a new-look championship with plenty of changes.

The first is that W Series will be running on the F1 support bill, as was planned for part of last year. After running with the DTM paddock for its inaugural season, the championship will now feature at the Styrian, Austrian, British, Hungarian, Belgian, Dutch, US and Mexico City Grands Prix.

This will coincide with FIA super licence points being awarded to the series for the first time. W Series will now match the points given in championships like Indy Lights and Euroformula Open, with 15 for the champion down to one point for seventh place in the standings.

New teams structure for 2021

Courtesy of W Series Media

As well as the new Grand Prix weekend billing, W Series is also changing the way its cars are run for 2021. Instead of all the entries being centrally run by the series itself, as was the case in 2019, W Series has opened the championship up to external partners forming two-driver teams with control over their own liveries and sponsorship.

Team Car no. Driver Car no. Driver
Bunker Racing 5 Fabienne Wohlwend 37 Sabre Cook
M. Forbes Motorsport 95 Beitske Visser 17 Ayla Agren
Puma W Series Team 19 Marta Garcia 3 Gosia Rdest
Racing X 27 Alice Powell 21 Jess Hawkins
Sirin Racing 54 Miki Koyama 11 Vicky Piria
Veloce Racing 55 Jamie Chadwick 97 Bruna Tomaselli
Ecurie W 7 Emma Kimilainen 44 Abbie Eaton
Scuderia W 26 Sarah Moore 22 Belen Garcia
W Series Academy 51 Irina Sidorkova 32 Nerea Marti

Three of the teams — Ecurie W, Scuderia W and W Series Academy — will still be centrally run by W Series. The cars will also still be mechanically identical, and will be operated and managed by Fine Moments and W Series Engineering.

The series will feature an unofficial teams’ championship this year, with a formal championship planned for 2022.

Chadwick back to defend her title

Courtesy of W Series Media

As W Series returns, so too does 2019 champion Jamie Chadwick. After being flagged as the early favourite for season one, Chadwick returned the hype in fine form with two wins, three poles and a podium in every race bar one.

Not only will she be aiming to stamp her authority on season two as well, Chadwick will also have the advantage of being a Williams development driver, so she’ll have had plenty of time preparing for the Spielberg track with a team that knows it well.

But Chadwick won’t have an easy run at her second title by any means. For starters, she’ll have her chief 2019 rival Beitske Visser to contend with. Visser only finished ten points behind Chadwick in season one, and like her rival never finished lower than fourth across the season.

Visser’s main focus in this year’s title campaign has to be qualifying. While Chadwick took three poles in 2019, Visser took none, so qualifying high and controlling races from the front will be key to getting the upper hand in 2021.

 

And that’s not all — if 2019 is anything to go by, we can expect at least a five-way championship battle with Alice Powell, Emma Kimilainen and Marta Garcia getting in the mix as well.

Together with Chadwick and Visser, this quintet of drivers took every podium position bar one last time out. But with Kimilainen missing two races due to injury, Powell suffering two retirements and chassis damage issues, and Garcia in her first year above F4 machinery, they weren’t able to weigh in on the inaugural title fight as expected. Watch for that to change this year though if they can get their seasons off to a clean start.

W Series will get underway with practice at 13:10 local time on Friday and qualifying at 16:30, and the first race of the season on Saturday at 16:30 just after F1 qualifying.

Listen: PitCast interview with Sabré Cook

In the latest special episode of the PitCast, we caught up with Indy Pro 2000 and W Series driver Sabré Cook.

Fresh off the back of the second round of the Indy Pro 2000 season at Mid-Ohio, we spoke to Sabré about her Road to Indy journey, her W Series goals and involvement in their esports league, and her work with the Renault F1 team and Infiniti Engineering Academy last year.

Sabré is currently competing part-time in the 2020 Indy Pro 2000 championship with Team Benik and was due to race in the second season of the W Series before its cancellation earlier in the year.

You can listen to the latest episode of the PitCast below, and also here on YouTube. Catch up on all our past episodes here.

 

W Series: 2020 goal to “make stars of our drivers”

W Series CEO Catherine Bond-Muir has said the championship’s goal in 2020 is to move past countering criticism and focus more on promoting its drivers’ stories.

At last week’s Autosport International, Bond-Muir praised the media coverage W Series had generated throughout 2019, which she said reached an audience of 340 million people on TV and 5 billion through online and print media.

However, she also said that because much of that coverage was dominated by the scepticism and controversy surrounding the W Series concept, she wants to move beyond that conversation to focus more on the stories and personalities of the championship’s protagonists:

“I think this year we’ll do a much better job of making them all a little bit more famous because this year we don’t have to talk about why W Series exists,” Bond-Muir said.

“Ultimately I think we spent last year justifying our position and justifying what we were doing. I think a lot of that has been put to bed now, and in the second year we want to talk about our drivers. We want to talk about their stories and make stars of our drivers this year.”

W Series Media

2020 will take W Series to a more global audience than last year, as it joins the Formula 1 support bill for the US and Mexican Grands Prix.

Speaking to ThePitCrewOnline, Bond-Muir added that because of motorsport’s commercial nature, providing an opportunity to boost its drivers’ media profiles was just as key a part of W Series’ mission as giving them a chance to hone and showcase their driving skills:

“In order to succeed in motorsport, we all know you’ve got to have money and therefore you’ve got to be successful commercially.

“So [promotion] is crucially important because they need followers, they need to engage the public, in order that sponsors [and] teams will support them, and that will enable them to be successful as well as great driving skills.”

W Series Media